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TM5524 - Qualitative Research Methods for Tropical Health Practitioners

Credit points: 3
Year: 2014
Student Contribution Band: Band 2
Administered by: Sch Public Health,Trop Medicine&Rehabilitation Sc (pre 2015)

The subject will introduce students to the uses and conduct of social science health research applicable in tropical communities. There will be a strong emphasis on qualitative research using practical examples of local tropical research. This approach will demonstrate those social science methodologies applicable for the socio-cultural research required in tropical settings, including cross-cultural studies and grounded theory. The main topics covered will include: the nature and purposes of qualitative research, planning and design, ethical issues, sampling, methods of data collection (including in-depth interviews, focus groups, observation and documentary analysis), analysing qualitative data, the use of computers for qualitative analysis, writing research reports and assessing qualitative research reports. Practical work will be part of the one week mini-block program. Social science oriented qualitative research methods will be presented both as a set of research methods in their own right and as methods to be combined with social science quantitative methods. Our approach to this subject is that research methods employed should be governed by the nature and demands of the inquiry.

Learning Outcomes

  • understand the contexts and purposes for which qualitative social science research is particularly well suited within tropical communities, either on its own or as a complement to quantitative research;
  • become familiar with the main approaches to qualitative research design that best serve the needs of tropical communities;
  • understand the principles of qualitative sampling;
  • have gained introductory experience in some main forms of qualitative data collection with particular emphasis on those methods most applicable to tropical community settings;
  • understand the principles of qualitative data analysis;
  • be able to write qualitative research reports;
  • be able to critically assess qualitative research reports.


Townsville, Limited, Study Period 1
Census Date 27-Mar-2014
Non-standard start/end 11-Feb-2013 to 21-Jun-2013
Face to face teaching (yet to be decided)
Coordinator: <Person not found>, Ms Melody Muscat
Lecturers: <Person not found>, Ms Melody Muscat.
Assessment: assignments (50%); first written assignment to be delivered at beginning of block (20%); second written assignment due on the monday after the completion of block (30%).

Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.